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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades Polo Ralph Lauren's senior unsecured rating to A3; Outlook Stable.

14 Jan 2011

New York, January 14, 2011 -- Moody's Investors Services today upgraded Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation's ("Polo") senior unsecured rating to A3. The rating outlook is stable. Today's rating actions concludes the review for upgrade that commenced on October 26, 2010.

The following rating was upgraded:

Senior Unsecured Rating to A3 from Baa1

RATINGS RATIONALE

The upgrade reflects Moody's view that Polo's business profile has shown stronger than anticipated resilience during the global recession, evidenced by its ability to maintain consistently positive trends in revenues and earnings. This strong performance reflects the strength of the company's brands, its successful investments in growth initiatives over the past several years, and the company's solid execution. The company continues to invest in key growth initiatives and Moody's expects these investments to further strengthen Polo's business over time. In particular, the company has been expanding rapidly in Asia , where it has taken control of distribution of its product in substantially all of its major Asian markets. The company's successful track record in Europe, which it has controlled for the past decade, gives Moody's comfort that Polo will be able to replicate this strategy in Asia over time. In the US the company continues to maintain a strong position and is growing its direct-to-consumer business.

Polo's A3 rating reflects the company's strong financial metrics, its brand strength, and its conservative financial policies. The rating also reflects the broad distribution of the company's brands across multiple channels of distribution, a wide and expanding range of products, and its increasingly significant international presence. The rating is constrained by the company's concentration risk around the Polo Ralph Lauren brand and image as well as its still sizable (though declining) reliance on the US department store channel for a significant portion of sales.

The stable outlook reflects Moody's expectations that the company will continue to demonstrate good returns from investments in key growth initiatives and maintain conservative financial policies.

Ratings could be upgraded if, over time, Polo were to demonstrate sustained organic growth of its brands across further product categories and geographies, while also materially reducing its still high reliance on the US department store channel. At the same time the company would need to maintain operating margins in the mid to high teens and solid financial metrics, and continue its conservative financial policies.

Ratings could be downgraded if Polo were to experience inconsistent results from investments in key growth strategies, or the company's strong brand position were to erode. This could be evidenced by sustained pressure on operating margins, or revenue trends that underperform peers. Ratings could also be downgraded if Polo were to adopt more aggressive financial policies. Quantitatively ratings could be downgraded if interest coverage approached 6 times or if debt/EBITDA was sustained above 2.0 times.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Global Apparel Methodology published in May 2010.

The last action on Polo Ralph Lauren was on September 19, 2006 when a Baa1 senior unsecured rating was assigned to the company's senior unsecured notes due 2013.

Headquarted in New York, NY, Polo Ralph Lauren ("Polo") is a leading designer, marketer and distributor of apparel and accessories. The company's brands include "Polo", "Ralph Lauren", "RLX", "Lauren", "Rugby", "American Living", "Chaps", and "Club Monaco". The company reported total revenues of almost $5.3 billion in the LTM period ending October, 2010.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

Information sources used to prepare the credit rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings, parties not involved in the ratings, public information, confidential and proprietary Moody's Investors Service information, and confidential and proprietary Moody's Analytics information.

Moody's Investors Service considers the quality of information available on the issuer or obligation satisfactory for the purposes of maintaining a credit rating.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on Moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some Credit Ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's Investors Service's Credit Ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's Investors Service provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

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New York
Scott Tuhy
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
Peter H. Abdill, CFA
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's Investors Service
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's upgrades Polo Ralph Lauren's senior unsecured rating to A3; Outlook Stable.
No Related Data.
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